UMD Defenseman, NHL prospect announces relapse during cancer treatment

In 2020 defenseman Will Francis was diagnosed with leukemia.
UMD Defenseman Will Francis has announced cancer has returned.
UMD Defenseman Will Francis has announced cancer has returned.(Northern News Now)
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - After receiving the University of Minnesota Duluth’s “Maroon and Gold” award last season for his return to the ice Bulldog’s defenseman Will Francis has announced an indication that his cancer has returned.

In March 2020, Francis was diagnosed with leukemia but was able to make a return to the ice for the 2022-23 season.

After being declared cancer free in June 2022, Francis went in for a routine, post-recovery check-up earlier this month and took a blood test that revealed a relapse.

On Monday, UMD Men’s Hockey released a statement by Francis on UMD athletics’ social media announcing that his battle with cancer will continue, forcing him to miss the beginning of the 2023-24 season but has hopes to return next year.

“I anticipate being back on the UMD campus, in class, and on the ice at Amsoil by January, I WILL BE BACK!” wrote Francis.

Francis played in 28 games last season, scoring his first collegiate point off of an assist versus St. Cloud State University. Francis has a total of 18 blocked shots through his 33 games played.

In the 2019 NHL entry draft Francis was selected by the Anaheim Ducks as the 163rd pick, giving him the opportunity to attend developmental camps while playing for the UMD Bulldogs.

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